The Telugus

Telugus Shine as Administrators Too

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The Telugu World Column No-31

Telugus Shine as Administrators Too

Earlier we saw how B. N. Yugandhar, father of Satya Nadellla and K. Sujata Rao, daughter of the great engineer-turned-minister Dr. K.L. Rao were in IAS and became distinguished administrators at the national level. Every year several Telugu young men and women pass the UPSC examination and become IAS, IPS or Revenue Service officers.  Several of them join the cadres of other states either by their own choice or due to allotment according to rules. Some of them distinguish themselves as administrators and bring a good name to the Telugu people.

The L.B. Shastri Academy of Administration, Mussoorie popular as the IAS training college, had (and hopefully still has) a Professor of Linguistics. A scholar I knew well, Kota Sundara Rama Sarma of Machilipatnam, who had BA or MA degrees in 12 languages, held the post. I remember him for his great memory as he could mention the roll numbers and dates of all the examinations he took to earn those degrees. He later migrated to the USA and was the administrator of the Venkateswara temple near New York. Many Telugu scholars, like Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni because of whom the world knows Ramana Maharshi, have distinguished themselves in Sanskrit at national level.

Decades ago I heard of a young Telugu collector in Gujarat who mastered the local language so well that he could write poetry in it. Rohini Sindhuri of Hyderabad was the Collector of Mandya, Karnataka, and became famous for getting over a lakh of toilets built in rural homes. She was also known for great work in starting rural drinking water projects and a website for property documents to save the trouble of running around government offices and Spandana, an app for redressing grievances. Famous for being transferred too frequently because of political pressure, she went to court on being transferred from Hassan district as Collector at the instance of a politician and had to be reinstated.

Talking of political pressure Thota Chandrashekhar was another Telugu IAS officer who became famous. As a Maharashtra cadre officer he was in Thane where he demolished the illegal constructions of politicians. He was, therefore, transferred as Municipal Commissioner of Nagpur Corporation. Trying to beautify Nagpur and widen its roads he saw how councilors who developed vested interests were the main hurdle. Study revealed that most of them committed some illegality or the other. He lodged a complaint  and had all of them locked up for a day. Then he struck a deal with them: he will withdraw the cases if they cooperate. He is remembered even today for developing Nagpur into a beautiful city. It was obvious he had political ambitions. Recently he contested elections from his native Guntur district as a candidate of Jana Sena party of actor Pawan Kalyan … and lost!  He heads the party in Guntur.

In a country which elects all mahararajas and mafia heads who contest, an honest official loses elections. Another such case was of doctor turned IAS officer Nagabhairava Jayaprakash Narayan, founder President of the Lok Satta party. In May 2014, he contested from Malkajgiri for a Parliament seat and lost. As an officer he had distinguished himself. Also a political electoral reformer, he   was an ex-MLA of Andhra from Kukatpally in Hyderabad. He is the founder-Secretary of an NGO, the Foundation for Democratic Reforms, a public-policy think-tank. He did pioneering work under the Right to Information Act. A columnist in several newspapers, he is known for India Future Foundation and Youth Parliament Program. He is a mentor to Vision India Foundation.

Another young Telugu IAS officer, Amrapali Kata, daughter of Prof. Kata Venkata Reddy of Andhra University and wife of an IPS officer Sameer Sharma, was appointed as a Deputy Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. She was the first Collector of Warangal Urban District. There may be many more from Andhra and Telangana State who had distinctions in administration nationally. Similarly many young officers from other states did distinguishing work here.

I recall a young collector in Naxal-infected Adilabad speaking of tribals’ exploitation. Asked about his good work, he said, “This is a chance to do some good. In a few years we would become Undersecretaries and then Secretaries and get drowned in that ocean.” Politicians kill all idealism. 

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